Porky and Buddy Pet Health – Cats and Dogs Should Avoid Garlic and Onions

Porky and Buddy

Dear Porky and Buddy,
I just read somewhere that onions and garlic are toxic to dogs and cats. When did that happen? I know that my dog, Glenda, has eaten leftovers that would have had a few cooked onions in them, and with no ill effect as far as I can see. And yes, I know I’m not supported to feed her leftovers, but she’s a lab. Enough said. I simply can’t break her heart every single day. But what about the onions and garlic? Does it matter whether they are cooked? Is there some amount that is safe? And if they were affecting her how would I know?


Dear Jim,
It’s true – for both dogs and cats onions and garlic can cause gastrointestinal irritation and could lead to red blood cell damage, a condition called hemolytic anemia.

Although cats are more susceptible, dogs are also at risk if a large enough amount is consumed.

For dogs, one study suggests that it takes .5% of their body weight to be ingested to cause clinical problems.

For a 20 pound dog, that’s one tenth of a pound of onions or 1.6 ounces.

We checked it out – that’s about 1/3 cup of chopped raw onion.

We assume Glenda is at least 60 pounds. So it would take a full cup at that weight to cause her problems.

That may seem like a lot for a dog to scarf down, but what if she got into your bowl of stuffing?

Garlic is about 5 times more potent than onion so it is even more problematic.

It doesn’t matter whether either one of them is cooked, but we would guess that it is more common for dogs to get into cooked versions.

The bottom line is that although smaller amounts of onion and even smaller amounts of garlic won’t hurt Glenda, why take chances?

Don’t feed them to her intentionally and be careful with food left out that has onion and garlic in it.

How would you know if she has managed to consume enough to cause harm?

It can take up to two to four days after your pet eats garlic or onions for symptoms to appear.

That’s why prevention is so important!

Symptoms of garlic/onion poisoning include breathlessness, lethargy, diarrhea, vomiting, pale gums, an elevated heart rate, an increased respiratory rate, weakness, exercise intolerance and collapse.

Obviously, if you suspect that Glenda has consumed a large amount of garlic or onion you should contact your vet right away.

And if any of those symptoms appear you should also be calling your vet for help.

Fortunately, turkey is just fine for her, but not the weird green bean casserole with the canned fried onions.

Poor Glenda.

Speaking of holiday food, check out the giant Holiday Bake Sale at the Home 4 the Holidays Pet Adoption Celebration and Holiday Bazaar on December 6 from noon to 3 p.m. at the YMCA/Armory at 265 W. First St.

It’s free and fun with lots of things to do and buy to benefit the animals.

The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County.

Located at 110 W. Second St., Oswego, NY.

Phone: (315) 207-1070.

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.oswegohumane.org

Because People and Pets Are Good for Each Other.